Retro Spins: Weird Al Yankovic - Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al Yankovic

In the '80's, even an accordion playing comedian with the art for parodying could make it big and hit the charts. In a world of new wave pop, synthesizers, neon colors and punk nobody expected or was prepared for the likes of Weird Al Yankovic. With his bushy mustache and out of control hair, Yankovic certainly didn't look like a star. However, he soon carved his own niche among the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Duran Duran and other iconic 80's staples.

Mind you, it wasn't overnight success for Yankovic. His self titled debut in 1983 went relatively unnoticed with the only charting track to be Ricky - And mind you it by no means blew the charts up. It entered into them at number 90 and disappeared the following week.  It wouldn't be until Al got the approval from Michael Jackson to parody his hit song Beat It that the world would start to really take notice.

However, that's a step too far for today's retro spin. Rather than talk about his monsterous In 3D album from 1984, I actually want to re-visit his aforementioned debut album.

Yes, even I as a kid never heard this album until after In 3D the follow up, Dare to Be Stupid. However, when I did it quickly became one of my favorites. First and foremost, can we take a moment to examine that beautiful cover? Every song is represented somewhere within all of that mix mash of artwork. It's like a hide and go seek game.

Then there's the actual songs. Because Al didn't have the following he does today, securing the rights to popular 80's hits to parody probably wasn't an easy feat. As such, the album relies more so on his own compositions - Which quite honestly I like, appreciate and respect more than his parodies. These kinds of tracks truly give insight to the madness within Weird Al Yankovic's head and I honestly wish he would focus more so on this these days than parodying "hit" songs I don't even know.

I've heard this album so many times since 1983 I don't honestly get too picky with it. I let the thing play from start to finish and while I have my personal favorites, I don't discriminate too harshly against the ones that aren't. Honestly, there's not many of them that aren't.

As I grew older, my "love" for Weird Al slowly started to dissipate. However, a lot of this was due to the fact he was parodying songs I either didn't know or like. This started around the mid 1990's, which would make sense considering I didn't broaden my music horizons much farther than 1991 - 1992 and even then those years don't necessarily "excite" me.

Still, I love to revisit his older works from his 1983 debut up through the 1988 soundtrack, UHF. The songs hold a lot of memories for me - Such as sitting on the grass in the backyard of my grandfather's house with my sister listening to the Dare to Be Stupid album on her battery operated boombox. Stuff like that is really important to an aging man such as myself these days. Simpler and quitter carefree times. Thanks for the memories, Al!

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